Searching for a new farm is not as easy as it sounds. On several occasions I have come across nice pieces of property, only to find obstacles and setbacks. Since I have been able to use the land I’m renting on for the last several years I’ve been a little oblivious to the headaches of buying land. Here’s a couple of the properties that we have looked at recently that haven’t worked out.
A beautiful log cabin right here in Winterport. 34 acres. A large beaver foliage. Big barn. Full basement. It was a pretty sweet deal. It was also within the price range, and the location was awesome. Not to mention the cabin itself was a home built design. I absolutely loved it. Two days before closing however, and the banks came back and said that they won’t offer Primary Mortgage Insurance. That meant at least 20% down payment would be needed to secure the loan. Anyone have an extra $30,000 I could borrow? Then, it turns out that no one want so to insure a home that’s a home built log cabin. Or if they do, our rates would be somewhere in the $3-4000/year range. Back to the drawing board.
There was a nice place in Plymouth that I had my eye on for several months. A nice range with three story barn, detached car garage, 25 acres, couple acres of fields, and a farm pond. For almost half as much as the last property! It was on the market over a year. As soon as the previous house fell through I went and checked it out on a Sunday. By Tuesday when I told my realtor about it, someone had already put an offer on it and it was off the market. Seriously?
The Neighbors Place
Back to the search. While investigating apparel of land up the road I met the sellers. They mentioned off hand that they would sell their house and 10 acres. The land was an amazing piece of fields and mature spruce, and only a quarter of a mile from where I farm now. I’d still have access to over 80 acres to lease. I went home to think about it a couple days before approaching them. I told them I’d take the property. A little shocked, they said they would call me back Friday. Weeks would go by. It became obvious they weren’t ready to sell, and didn’t expect me to buy.
The Newburgh Spot
Feeling a little frustrated I liked online once again. I couldn’t believe it. Right in Newburgh, a nice property with fields and mature oaks. A small ranch sitting on almost 5 acres, with an additional 14 for sale, at a super low price. It went on the market Friday, we had a showing Saturday, and had an offer in Sunday for the whole enchilada. The seller came back Monday and said they declined the offer, and had decided not to sell all the land after all. Talk about an up and down weekend.
So the search continues. I’m beginning to see why so many beginning farmers have trouble getting onto new land. Land acquisition is one of the hardest things new farmers faces. I never gave it much thought, but as I’m in the middle of trying to grow my operations I’m seeing how difficult and painful the process can be. Not to mention just simply exhausting. I’d much rather be working with the animals, my markets, and my customers than dumping time and energy into prospects that just fall through. Maybe today will be different. If you know of a good land deal in the area leave your suggestions in the comments below. Thanks!